Horror stories from the trenches: My very first project

time to read 2 min | 361 words

My first day at work, and I am but a young whippersnapper. I arrived, did the usual meet & greet with everybody (and promptly forgot their names), then I was shown to a desk, given a laptop and one of my new coworkers rummaged in a desk drawer for a while before throwing me a document. Well, I say a document, what I mean is a book.

It was couple hundred pages, and it was titled: Specs for the Ergaster module in the Heidelbergensis System. When asked what I was supposed to do with it, I was given a very simple answer: Implement.

I later found on some very interesting aspects on the spec:

  • The document represented over a year and a half of work.
  • The module was being developed for a client of our client.
  • The module was meant to be both specific for the sub client needs and at the same time generic enough to used by other clients of our clients.
  • The system that we were supposed to be a module in was currently under development and wasn’t in a position to be used by us.

Can you say image

Well, I spent close to two years working on this project. I learned a lot, from how to proof myself from upstream teams to how not to design a system. I poured a whole lot of work and effort into this.

Along the way, I also learned something very interesting about the spec. That was the first time that I actually had to reverse engineer a specification to understand what the customer actually wanted.

Two years after we handed off the module to the client, I had the chance to go to lunch with the team leader from that client, so I asked him about the module. He informed me that they still haven’t deployed to production.

I was depressed for a week afterward.